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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

224               POST-WAR FINANCE

hands of those from whom it is collected, have been
squandered. The payment of the debt charge
merely means that those who came forward with their
money when they were asked to subscribe to war
loans, have, according to the extent of the effort
that they then made, a set-off against the subsequent
taxation involved by the war debt. It would have
been a much simpler and more businesslike pro-
ceeding to have taken, instead of borrowing, a much
larger proportion of the war's cost during the war;
but it is too late now to rub in this platitude which is
now pretty generally admitted. Mr Hoafe showed
in last month's Journal that the creation of the War
Debt has caused a huge addition to what he has
called Rente—the gross income of the propertied
classes; and there is much logic in his contention
that this income is the source from which the debt
charge should be met. At the same time both
justice and economic expediency seem to demand
that his wider interpretation of Rente, to make it
include the earnings of those whose special qualifica-
tions (or, we may add, special luck) put them in a
position to earn more easily than the struggling
majority, should be applied to taxation involved by
the debt charge.

How, then, shall we deal with the debt ? In the
first place we want a good Sinking Fund—I per cent,
at least—and all realisations of assets in the shape of
loans repaid, ships, etc., sold, should be used for
reduction of our foreign debt. For the home charge
we want a special form of income tax that will fall as
lightly and indirectly as possible on industry; that